Healthy Options Push Salty Snacks


  • Frito Lay
  • Cheez-It (Kellogg’s)
  • Chex Mix (General Mills)


  • Combos (Mars)
  • Cape Cod (Lance)
  • Pringles (P&G)

The down economy has inspired a consumer trend toward eating in and choosing less expensive home-entertainment options, which has been a boost to the salty snacks category.

Customers are likely to choose snacks they perceive as more healthful. Following that trend, a study by Nielsen Co. showed sales for pretzels had increased 10.1% and sales for popcorn had grown 14.3% ending Nov. 30, 2009, compared to the previous year.

In 2008, salty snack sales brought in $4,962 per store/per month with a profit of $1,867, a 37.6% gross margin, making salty snacks the sixth most profitable category, according to the 2009 NACS State of the Industry report, which polled 156 c-store chains representing more than 20,500 c-stores as of December 2008.

CSD’s 2010 Brand Preference Study polled 71 key decision-makers for 69 chains about the salty snacks category. The decision makers listed Frito Lay, Cheez-It (Kellogg’s) and Chex Mix (General Mills) as the top performing brands in the category. Honorable mentions went to Combos (Mars), Cape Cod (Lance) and Pringles (P&G).                 

Of the 71 respondents, 44% reported seeing sales presentations by salty snack manufacturers in the last 60 days, 11% said they were visited by three or four companies, and 37% said they saw presentations by one or two companies.

Eight percent of buyers reported they had not seen any sales presentations from a salty snack supplier in the last two months, and 56% of buyers reported seeing less than five from the 16 companies in the market.


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